Preconception Counseling Essentials

Written by on October 31, 2012 in Family - No comments | Print this page


Prior to getting pregnant, a woman ideally wants to be as healthy as possible. Aside from jogging a few extra minutes on the treadmill or cutting back on your daily soda intake, how can you prepare your body for a potential pregnancy? Preconception counseling is an important first step on the road to pregnancy.

The Purpose of Preconception Counseling

The purpose of preconception counseling is to discuss the patient’s health history. Another goal is to devise a plan that can improve your chances of getting pregnant, and maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Preconception counseling helps women and couples to evaluate the status of their health, address any risks, and manage any health problems before they try to conceive.

For example, women with uncontrolled diabetes are at increased risk of giving birth to babies with congenital abnormalities. Preconception counseling can lower this risk through a combination of education and the creation of a pre-pregnancy plan that addresses special health concerns. Sometimes a pregnancy is unplanned. Therefore, it is important for women of childbearing age to understand the basics of preconception counseling. Preconception care may consist of one appointment or a series of appointments with your healthcare provider. You and your healthcare provider will determine how much care is necessary.

During the Appointment

During a typical preconception appointment, here are some typical points of discussion between you and your doctor. Your doctor will probably want to go over your medical history and your family’s medical history. You will probably discuss the pattern of your menstrual cycles to make sure that they are regular. You may discuss your lifestyle choices and the negative effects of drugs, alcohol and smoking on a potential pregnancy. You may also discuss factors such as diet and exercise.

Your doctor may take this opportunity to discuss the importance of prenatal vitamins. Getting the proper amount of folic acid is essential for pregnant women. Folic acid taken in early pregnancy greatly reduces the risk for birth abnormalities such as spina bifida. In addition, you may get a pelvic exam, STD testing, and any necessary and appropriate vaccinations. A preconception appointment is the perfect time to ask questions, share your concerns, and gather as much information as possible.

Social Media and Preconception Counseling

In society today, information is exchanged at a rapid pace. There are countless online resources that provide a plethora of useful information about how to achieve optimal health prior to pregnancy. Social media resources such as Twitter, Facebook, and blogs contain helpful tips and links to articles. There are Facebook pages representing support groups, companies, and non-profit organizations all devoted to preconception counseling for women as well as couples. Twitter can be an endless source of constant conversations within the preconception counseling community on various topics relating to women’s health and proper pre-pregnancy care.

It is vital for women to know and understand how their bodies work, especially when trying to conceive. Women and couples should seek preconception care with their OBGYN, midwife, or other related healthcare provider about three months prior to trying to get pregnant.

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This is a guest post.  This article was provided by Jessica Barns, a mother of four healthy children. She recommends Barefoot Health for their amazing preconception counselling and other services such as acupuncture Ajax.


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